The Saskatchewan Health Authority says its plan to combat overcrowding in Saskatchewan’s hospitals is working, despite comments from the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses which state the opposite.

The Capacity Pressure Action Plan was implemented in Saskatoon 90 days ago, after the city’s fire department found that an overcrowding of patients in hallways at St. Paul’s Hospital meant the building wasn’t meeting fire code requirements.

John Ash, Vice President of Integrated Saskatoon Health, says the Plan has provided a total of 116 beds in hospitals, rehabilitation centres, and long-term care programs in Saskatoon and Regina. Ninety permanent healthcare positions have been filled, as well.

“We have begun to see some signs of improvements, whether that’s a decreased number of patients waiting for a community resource out of acute, and certain feedback from some of our staff,” Ash notes.

He says staff are beginning to see the benefit of additional staff in the emergency department.

“They are certainly expressing gratitude and thanks for those additional staff coming online that can support an extra volume of patients,” he shares. “The work we are doing within our plan is the right work, not only to address the emergency department and overcrowding and hospital occupancy, but… adding the right capacity in our community…so patients can receive the best care in the best place possible.”

Meanwhile, the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses says overcrowding persists at Royal University Hospital. A spokesperson says on Wednesday night, 80 ER patients needed a bed in other areas, but couldn’t be moved because those wards were all full.